Twentieth Century Psychology: Recent Developments in Psychology

By Philip Lawrence Harriman | Go to book overview

IDENTIFICATION WITH SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CLASS

HADLEY CANTRIL

Princeton University

In a recent series of addresses, Pear points out that the problem of social stratification has remained almost unexplored by social psychologists.1 It may well be that one basic reason for this neglect has been the traditional class character of the social sciences themselves.2

Of late the chief contributors to our knowledge of class structure have been the social anthropologists, especially Lloyd Warner and his group in their studies of Yankee City.3 Dollard has done pioneer work in the field using more psychoanalytic concepts.4 Nevertheless, Pear's stricture is still valid. Social psychology needs more observation, more data, more systematic thinking on the problem of social stratification. It is in this context that the ideas here are presented.

At the present time and in our present culture, one psychological problem of class structure concerns the individual's identification of himself with a certain economic group and with a certain social class. From everyday experience we know that

____________________
1
T. H. Pear. "Psychological aspects of English social stratification." Bull. John Rylands Library, 1942, 26, No. 2. Pp. 27.
2
For a statement of this point of view and a stimulating discussion of class structure by a Marxian sociologist, see Nikolai Bukharin, Historical materialism: a system of sociology. New York: International Publishers, 1925.
3
W. Lloyd Warner and Paul S. Lunt. "The social life of a modern community." New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1941.
4
John Dollard. "Caste and class in a Southern town". New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1937.

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